Weekly Scoop

Back to School Scoop 2017

Hope you all had a wonderful summer holiday, we are so sad to see it end so quickly! We are slowly getting  back into routine for back to School. We have shared our Summer adventure on our social media channels, in case you have not been following us, you can catch us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter .  Needless to say we  are always online sharing the best of our findings and summer family destinations. Winner of our back to school competition with Stuck on You will be announced today so stay tuned!

In our back to school scoop you will find information on kids activities including science workshops, cooking and dance classes to keep your little ones active. Make sure you are subscribed to stay in the loop, as we will be sharing some exciting events coming up including our 6th anniversary on 24th of November, so please save the date!

 

 

Join Kids en cuisine’s cooking academy for little chefs from 3 to 13 years old. The sessions take place at your home, once a week, after school, for a group of 4 children minimum. A different menu every week with everything provided by Kids en cuisine and your kitchen left spotless after the sessions. Your little Chefs will learn how to cook healthy dishes focused on seasonal vegetables, fruits, aromatic herbs and spices. It is the perfect activity to learn more about food and how to use save kitchen utensils.

Little House of Science. It is not long to go now. Do get ready and join us for 12 week of exciting Autumn term Science, Little Maths and Little Discovery classes  from 11 Sept – 9 Dec 2017. Book online: or call us on 0800 092 1062

 

 

The Kensington Ballet school caters for children aged 15 months to 8 years in a fun but structured environment at venues in Kensington, Chelsea, Knightsbridge, Fulham, Notting Hill, Holland Park and West Hampstead. Parents are encouraged to participate and join in the toddler groups. There is a strong emphasis on theatrical performance from Karen’s team of classically trained ballerinas who actively perform and demonstrate with the children.  The classes are conducted to a mixture of classical and children’s music to help stimulate imagination, rhythm and musicality. Exercises and storytelling help the pupils to learn the appropriate steps for their ages in an organised, creative atmosphere whilst building self-confidence.

 

 

Yellowbird Education is an experienced resource for preparing your child for 7+, 8+ and 11+ exams.  We focus on building skills, confidence, determination and reducing exam-day nerves.  Book our 7+, 8+, 11+ Mock Exams in English & Maths.  Papers are set on the basis of current Independent School trends. They are marked and feedback is provided in areas that may need attention.  Mock exams are held in Fulham & Clapham:  Oct 8, Nov 5, Dec 3, Jan 2.Yellowbird also has several Exam Prep Workshops over the October Half-Term.  The following courses are available: Creative Writing, Comprehension & Composition, 11+ Discursive Writing, 11+ English Booster, Interview Skills and Handwriting.

 

Mandarin Chinese for 3 to 5 in the heart of Kensington! Ni Hao, lovely mums! Sign up for Little Mandarin Classes for 3 to 5 year-olds in the heart of Kensington. First session is held on the 6th of September 2017 from 3.30-5.00pm and on every Wednesday for the whole term! Join The Kensington Square Nursery and Little Mandarin Classes for your little one’s first Chinese adventure with stories, role-play and sign language!

We’ve launched Mission: Invertebrate to better understand the minibeasts that make their home in the grasslands of London’s Royal Parks. We’re delivering exciting free school sessions mapped to the National Curriculum to enthuse students of all ages about the wonderful world of invertebrates. Our school sessions are led by a team of experienced Environmental Educators and can be delivered whatever the weather, so why not get your school involved today? Thanks to the Players of People’s Postcode Lottery and our learning partners, this year-long programme is taking place across the eight Royal Parks. For more information about available sessions, please click here.

Sparks  are inviting young movie makers to take part in their weekly Saturday Shoots from September. Attending fun classes each week, members develop lots of creative skills for movie making, as well as building confidence and communication skills. There are places available for children aged 7-11, based at St James Junior School. To learn more or to book a trial visit, visit

 

 

Join Tip Top Dance School this Summer for our Dance Summer School from 21st – 25th August 9.30 – 15.30 everyday (extended hours available). Students dance with professionals for a week whilst learning routines in different dance styles such as Ballet, Street Dance, Modern Jazz. Students build confidence through performing and making new friends! No previous experience needed just willingness to learn new skills! The summer school is suitable for ages 4 years upwards. Tip Top Dance School also runs weekly classes throughout the year in Ballet, Modern Jazz, Street Dance and Creative Movement. To register your interest please get in touch with Maria at info@tiptopdanceschool.com

 

Enjoy heading back to school with some awesome fun and games with Sharky and George. From parties to play dates, Sharky & George are your number one entertainers to keep a smile on your little one’s face. Start the school term off with a bang with an explosive science party. An incredible scientist will get the children making putty, film canister rockets and they will be able to make their own bouncy balls and do dry ice bubbling experiments. On top of this, the scientist will perform exciting demonstrations with fire! Sharky & George has a wide range of unique party types to choose from including Survival, Disco, Spy, Cooking, Movie-Making and Nerf Battles! Take a look at the Sharky & George website for further information.

Club Petit Pierrot, London’s Premier French club, has been awarded the CAA GOLD accreditation, who noted their work to be “outstanding”. They have been teaching French to thousands of children in London since 1993, and remain as ever-popular and dedicated today. Instrumental in championing both the immersion method and in developing Parent & toddler programmes for babies as young as 8 months old they offer muti-sensory parent and toddler groups from 8 months old, and for older children up to 8 years old a carefully planned syllabus with fun worksheets, language games & creative activities such as theatre, art & singing. Their lessons are innovative, creative, musical, active, stimulating, authentically French and above all great fun! The classes are led by a fantastic team of native French teachers, across London including two venues in Notting Hill and in Chelsea.

Kiddikicks, more than just football! At Kiddikicks we develop the whole body improving fine motor skills, invaluable for tying laces and handwriting as well as gross motor skills for optimum physical coordination and great sportsmanship. All sessions are football focused and end with goal scoring or match play (depending on age) to allow the children to use the skills they have been practicing throughout the session.  Kiddikicks have sessions in South Kensington / Hyde Park (Saturdays and Tuesdays), Queen’s Park (Fridays), Chiswick (Saturdays), Paddington Recreation Ground (Saturdays) and St John’s Wood (Sundays) from 18 months to 11 years.  Book online at ; info@kiddikicks.co.uk; 020 7937 7965

 

Visit KidZania London for a fun Back to School activity! This September plan a trip to KidZania London, the indoor city where the kids are in charge and participate in a host of activities. Children can join Capital FM’s team of radio DJs broadcasting news to the city, take on the role of fruitologist at the Innocent smoothie kitchen or even work as a stylist at H&M’s fashion studio; alongside a range of other unique, real-life role play experiences. KidZania London offers 4-14 year olds more than 60 real life activities, spanning across 75,000 square feet. Blending learning with reality and entertainment, each career at KidZania is developed to  teach kids essential life skills including financial literacy, teamwork and independence. Designed to empower and entertain kids, KidZania gives children the  chance to challenge themselves and explore the world of opportunities.

 

 

Keren’s Nursery, Wednesdays open days 10-11am. “A home away from home” Nursery School in Holland Park W11 4RB is part of a group of three nurseries, two of which are rated Ofted Outstanding! Providing care and education for children aged 6 months – 5 years with flexible times and availability of full days (08:00-18:00). Award winning homemade meals cooked on site. Highly experienced staff team who ensure a stimulating, high quality environment and rich curriculum. Children are observed daily by their key teachers who make sure they reach their full potential. Children are prepared for school and for life, gaining important skills to be confident, independent individuals with a passion for learning. Visit online or call, detail in link.

 

Gymboree Play and Music  Kensington and Chelsea . We are excited to launch our exclusive Summer Membership. A flexible membership to fit in around your summer plans 🙂 6 Classes & Unlimited Open Gym Session’s!  Valid for- 3 months. Price – one off payment of just £120! All Kensington Mums will get a 50% discount off the joining fee! At Gymboree Play & Music, you and your child will build creativity, confidence and lifelong friendships. Gymboree Play & Music classes are designed by experts in early childhood development to help young children learn as they play. Our classes also involve you as parent or carer teaching you fun and interesting ways to engage and excite your young child.

 

Private guitar tutor with years of primary/secondary teaching experience now taking bookings for the new academic year! A friendly, patient and differentiated service for every individual. Your choice of learning the classical, acoustic, electric or bass guitar. Solo OR group. Your child can access free online resources and lessons can be moved to suit your weekly need. A range of discounts are available for duo/bulk lessons. Learning an instrument is proven to help children excel across all subjects in school and develop key social skills. This service is available for adults too. Curious? Questions? Get in touch! t.king.1992@hotmail.co.uk / 07955 056 484

 

 

Taekwondo fitness fun. Bring your kids along to our fun and exciting Taekwondo classes. A specially designed new fitness class for children packed with a punch. Your children will get fit and disciplined for their future. Under the instruction of international 6th dan black belt Master Faryad Goudarzi & a qualified personal trainer, they will learn self defence, built up their confidence, concentration, fitness and learn respect. All the skills they need under one sport. Adults are also welcome. One to one Taekwondo and personal training sessions for both adults and children available on request. Please call or email us to find out more. 07503021919 Faryad1@yahoo.com

 

 

Key Lessons provides one-on-one musical tuition in the comfort of your home so lessons are convenient and comfortable for you. We have competitive rates and extraordinary teachers to make your learning fun, flexible and catered to your learning needs. We teach a wide range of musical instruments (including voice) in London and Greater London. All our teachers have DBS(CRB) checks regularly and are all registered with examination boards to enter you into exams.  We currently have  specialised LEARNING AND PHYSICAL DISABILITY tutors available for lessons. Don’t hesitate to ask about the FREE TRIAL- it’s important to us to get you the right teacher, and it won’t cost you a penny to find them!

How to make homemade slime

This Summer, we had lots of fun making homemade slime. We use the recipe from Little Bins for Little Hands which worked well as we found  all the ingredients in Canada, where we were spending most of our Summer holiday.

Sarah from Little Bins for Little Hands has this free printable on her website which we found useful and used the second recipe on there.

 

 

Watch our little video to see all the fun, we had. I had four kids to entertain that day and the slime making activity worked a treat!

I hope you are all enjoying the Summer holidays.

 

Mums & Bumps: Our favourite swimsuits & beach essentials

We love Summer, the feeling of sun kissed skin, salty hair and sand in between your toes, you get the drift. We wanted to share  with you some of our favourite swimsuit that are great for mums and bumps with a mumbathing must haves list. We recently published Honest’s Mums campaign on #proudinmybikni  and as mothers we are all self conscious of our body after baby. We hope you can join us so that all Mothers are proud in their bikini this Summer and always.

Here are are top picks for  Summer 2017

 

  1. Seaspray Fiji Classic Bandeau. This is one of Dina’s favourite which she recently wore on a family holiday in Corfu. Seaspray’s classic bandeau has a great texture feel with a twist around the stomach. It can be worn strapless and with halter strap and comes with a supportive foam cups to give you an even better support.
  2. Simply Yours High Waisted Brief. These high waisted heroes are helpful to conceal and cover stretch marks and C- sections scars. 
  3. Black is the colour we all feel comfortable wearing. Create some shape with some plunge swimsuit which will that those curves are still in the right places. This one is from Next Online and only £30.
  4. If you are feeling wobbly, go for a bit of tummy control swimsuit with this Floral Rose Print Tummy Control Multiway Swimsuit, only £24 from mandco.com 
  5. For a beach ready look with a bump, Seraphine has the perfect match for you and your bump. We love this coral cutout maternity swimsuit only £39. 
  6. Tankinis are also great for beach bumps, we love this one from Mothercare that can also be worn after baby too! Priced at £25 from their website.
  7. For mum bathing must have, we love this Take me Away French Hat, which is only £12.60 from Debenhams.
  8. Put all your beach essentials in your beach bag. We love these hand made jute bags with “Beach” on them just what we need right now.
  9. This Seychelles Smocked Kaftan from Heidi Klein is the perfect summer must have for Mums. It is time to relax with a drink and enjoy time with the children.

     

  10. Time to enjoy the sun and work on your tan. We love this Soleil Stardial Round Beach Towel from Asos, so bright and fun for the whole family to enjoy.

 

Enjoy your Summer holiday, make every moment count and don’t forget to use sun protection whenever in the sun. Happy holidays!

Best dates in London for Mummy and Daddy this Summer

We love London even more in Summer. Check out our date guide for the best dates in London.

  1. Rooftop Film Club at Roof Gardens in Kensington. Enjoy a unique, romantic outdoor cinema experience showing cult, classic and new movies all screened from  their rooftop garden just in time for sun set.

 

2. Dinner in the Sky? This is a unique event for anyone who wishes to transform an ordinary date into a magical moment. For an exclusive period from the 19 – 30 July, Events in the Sky will operate a 12 day pop-up event in London. Open to the public, this event will see some of London’s best restaurants transfer their menus and dining experiences to our unique sky table, suspended 100 feet in the air.

 

3.  Check Out Local Art Galleries at the Serpentine Gallery. The Serpentine Galleries has a new summer of Park Nights, its annual series of experimental and interdisciplinary encounters, sited in the 2017 Serpentine Pavilion designed by the award-winning architect Francis Kéré.

4. Fruit Picking at Garsons Farm. We always seem to take the kids to fruit picking farms, but why not enjoy a “tete a tete” picking fruits, shopping, eating and enjoying some outdoors time at the farm instead?

5. Make it a double date with another friendly couple or groups of friends too. Head to the Beach in London, check out our favourites here.

6. Dino Snores for grown ups at the Museum. Head to the Natural History Museum this summer where you’ll be among the first to camp under the spectacular blue whale skeleton in the newly redeveloped Hintze Hall.

7. Dates are not just about going out. If fact, sometimes all we really want is a night in with our other half. So, why not a cosy dinner at home? Put the kids to bed, dress up as if you are going out, let one of you be the Chef for the night or cook  together while enjoying a glass of wine or your favourite soft drink. Play some of your favourite tunes in the background and forget about your phones. Chat, dance, giggle and enjoy just make sure you don’t wake the kids up.

We posted this video on our Instagram account that LadBaby posted and went viral, check out what her other half did as a result of not finding a babysitter for a date night. We love it!

8. For a relaxed yet fun bite out, burger date is always a good idea. We really enjoyed Roadster Burger, read our latest review here.

9. We are  lucky to have so many wonderful parks in London so why not start a date with a romantic walk in the park? Read more about our favourite parks  here.

10. Skate, Dine and Bowl at Queens local London bowling. There is also an Ice rinks where you can try out Go karting on ice or dance on ice too.

Just for laughs we wanted to share this video with you, as we find it to be so real.

We hope you found our suggestions useful, please share your experiences with us if you visit any of the places above or if you have any other recommendations for other parents looking for the perfect date night place or ideas in London.

 

Brook Green Market and Kitchen

We like to keep you in the loop with the local scoop. Brook Green Market and Kitchen will have their summertime Craft Beer Month, starting 29 July until 19 August. The school playground turned market space will play host to four weeks of free weekly guided tastings through a series of Tap Takeovers. 

Enjoy a family day out, spend the day sampling the best of London’s craft beer, street food and organic produce whilst enjoying the bustling vibes of Brook Green Market and Kitchen.

In the past few years, Londoners have (quite rightly) become increasingly interested in all things Craft Beer so we want to fuel this further by offering an educative experience as well as a tasty one. Brook Green Market and Kitchen aims to broaden your drinks knowledge as much as it does your palate. 

The Craft Beer month will be featuring: Portobello Brewing Co (29 July), Signature Brew (5 August), Solvay Society (12 August) Hop Stuff (19 August). 

The tastings are completely free of charge and will be an excellent opportunity to learn all about craft beer from industry specialists through a series of talks about the art of brewing and the opportunity to meet the brewer. The visiting brewers will bring their expertise, their ingredients (malt, yeast, hops et al) for you to touch, taste and smell as well as an insight into their history and – most importantly – their fantastic beers for sampling.

Championing West London’s local food and drinks scene is something that Brook Green Market and Kitchen is known for: being a hub of food and drinks activity as well as a quality weekly food shopping one-stop-shop. These events, talks and tastings are all fun facets of the market which aims to bring excitement and innovation to West London. 

Baby, toddlers to teenagers; Kensington Mums & London Little Thinkers book suggestions for the Summer holidays

With technology advancing every day more, we think it is important for our little ones to be connected with the world and stay up to date with change BUT we cannot stress enough how important it is to encourage your little ones to keep reading books and for parents, to read with them daily  over the holidays. Stimulate your children’s imagination and let their minds wonder with beautifully written books by inspiring authors.

Kensington Mums would like to thank Rebecca Dooley, founder of  London’s Little Thinkers for helping us, help our mums and families choose the best books for your children to take on holiday.

 

About London Little Thinkers

“LLT is an online resource which promotes an educational and engaging London life for children. Set up by Rebecca Dooley, a primary school teacher working in a leading London day school means that all of the recommendations are well-considered to promote fun learning. LLT offers daily ideas and regular educational events. Sign up to their newsletter, full of what LLT recommends before each holiday!”

 

 

 

Find  our suggestions below:

Age 0-1

That’s not my  –  Osborne Series 


A multi-award winning series of brightly illustrated books with simple, repetitive storyline. That’s not my… books are perfect for little fingers – with touchy-feely textures to explore, or stickers and colouring to practise hand and pen control.

 

Age 2-3 :

 

Peck Peck Peck by Lucy Cousins

  A “hole” lot of fun!Today my daddy said to me, “It’s time you learnt to peck a tree.” Little Woodpecker has just learnt how to peck and – ooh! yippee! – what fun it is! Off he goes, on his first big pecking adventure, and he peck, peck, pecks his little heart out. He pecks the hat and then the mat, the tennis racket AND the jacket… just LOOK at all the holes he has made! Comical, contemporary and original! A stunning new picture book title from Lucy Cousins, with colour so exuberant it leaps right off the page.

 

 

Age 4-5:

 

We’re going on a bear hunt by Michael Rosen 

 

“Follow and join in the family’s excitement as they wade through the grass, splash through the river and squelch through the mud in search of a bear. What a surprise awaits them in the cave on the other side of the dark forest!”

 

 

 

 

Penguin by Polly Dunbar 

“Ben is given a penguin as a present. Try as he might, however, he cannot get a reaction from his inscrutable companion. He pokes him, sings for him and eventually fires him into outer space but to no avail – Penguin still ignores him. Ben loses his temper with Penguin, so a big blue lion gobbles him up. Ben’s saviour appears in an unlikely form causing him to realise that penguin loves him after all, in his own special way.

 

 

Age 6-7

Beegu by Alexis Deacon

“Beegu is from another world and somehow gets lost on Earth. Lonely and confused, she wanders off to a nearby city to find some friends. But the only friendly people she comes across are the children, while the big Earth creatures just don’t seem to understand.

Deacon’s simple text and soft illustrations cleverly convey a child’s feelings of uncertainty and confusion when faced with new surroundings. This is a heart-warming and satisfying tale that is certain to provide comfort to young children”.

 

 

 The Owl who was afraid of the dark  

by Jill Tomlinson

Plop, the Baby Barn Owl, is like every Barn Owl there ever was, except for one thing – he is afraid of the dark. “Dark is nasty” he says and so he won’t go hunting with his parents. Mrs Barn Owl sends him down from his nest-hole to ask about the dark and he meets a little boy waiting for the fireworks to begin, an old lady, a scout out camping, a girl who tells him about Father Christmas, a man with a telescope and a black cat who takes him exploring. He realizes that through these encounters that dark is super after all.

 

Age 7-8


The Sheep Pig
by Dick King-Smith

The Sheep-pig is one of Dick King-Smith’s most famous tales. It shot to further fame when the film adaptation, Babe, was released in 1995.  

‘Why can’t I learn to be a Sheep-Pig?’ When Babe, the little orphaned piglet, is won at a fair by Farmer Hogget, he is adopted by Fly, the kind-hearted sheep-dog. Babe is determined to learn everything he can from Fly. He knows he can’t be a sheep-dog. But maybe, just maybe, he might be a sheep-pig.

 

 

The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me by Roald Dahl

 

The giraffe, the pelican and the agile monkey set out to prove that they are the best window-cleaning company around.

 

 

 

 

Age 8-9:

 The Midnight Gang by David Walliams

Welcome to the Midnight Gang! Midnight is the time when all children are fast asleep, except of course for… the Midnight Gang. That is when their adventures are just beginning…

When Tom gets hit on the head by a cricket ball, he finds himself at Lord Funt Hospital, and is greeted by a terrifying-looking porter. Things go from bad to worse when he meets the wicked matron in charge of the children’s ward… But Tom is about to embark on the most thrilling journey of a lifetime

 

Age 9-10:

Harry Potter

“Discovering the joys of Harry Potter is a rite of passage for kids today. Since J.K. Rowling released the first book more than 15 years ago, kids have been devouring the books, watching the movies, and — at least for super fans — playing games and apps and visiting websites devoted to the young wizard.  One of the delights of discovering Harry Potter is that you see him grow up. But along with that, the subject matter of the books and movies gets scarier, the villains get viler, and beloved characters die.”

 

 

 

Age 10-11:

Kensuke’s Kingdom by Michael Morpurgo

Washed up on an island in the Pacific, Michael struggles to survive on his own. With no food and no water, he curls up to die. When he wakes, there is a plate beside him of fish, of fruit, and a bowl of fresh water.  He is not alone…

Michael Morpurgo’s classic children’s book Kensuke’s Kingdom is a thrilling adventure story for ages 9+, and winner of The Children’s Book Award (2000). Now available in hardback and paperback.

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy the holidays & please get in touch if you wish to share your suggestions or give feedback on any of the books above. 

 

Summer London Beaches

In case you are spending the Summer in London, here is a run down on summer beaches in London. Yes, those do exist and some are also family friendly or make the perfect date night with your other half or a fun girls night out.

Neverland beach in Fulham. This thames-side beach spot has a unique BYOB and feasting concept – come on down and experience street food and alfresco dining like never before. Booking is essential. They also offer outdoor beach yoga classes.

 

The Beach Bar in Bloomsbury’s The Montague transforms into a seaside getaway for the summer. Complete with real sand, a beach-hut style thatched roof, delicious cocktails, palm trees and more – you’ll feel like you’re basking in the Bahamas rather than in the heart of central London.

The Urban London Beach is a stretch of sandy beach that provides a great day out with family and friends. Enjoy lazing in a deckchair, building a sandcastle,  relaxing with the Sunday papers and eating ice cream on London’s Beach!

Summer’s coming to Hampstead’s urban beach, with golden sand, amazing food and cocktails to set the mood for long evenings of sun, fun and holiday vibes. Hampstead Beach comes back to JW3 for the third time; has free entry and will be open from Sunday to Friday. Special events taking place on the beach throughout the summer will be announced soon.

 

Brixton Beach will transport you to a lush and colourful paradise, serving up a winning combination of cocktails, street food and entertainment, creating the ultimate festival that lasts all summer long.  The rooftop urban beach will bring you a little Havana life with music nights.

Can’t get to the seaside but want to enjoy the beach? Come to Southbank Centre this summer and they can help you out. Bring your own bucket and spade, and we’ll supply 85 tonnes of golden, play sand for you to enjoy for free – and hopefully some sunshine to go with it.

Honest Mum’s #ProudInMyBikini Campaign & Learning to Love Your Post-Birth Body

Today’s contributing article is by Vicki Psarias from honest.com. As mothers we are all self conscious of our body after baby and love how honest and open Vicki is in her #proudinmybikini campaign and we hope you can join us so that all Mothers are proud in their bikini this Summer and always. I always tell myself that each stretch mark on my body has a story, and it is a beautiful story indeed. Let us all embrace our motherhood journey in all its shapes and forms.

We have interviewed Vicki  part of our online motherhood exhibition, you can read more about it here.

Below is the image of Vicki that went viral 2 years ago.

Words by Vicki, mother of two.

Pregnancy and post-baby pressures on our bodies can feel overwhelming as we battle the pressure to ping back to our pre-pregnancy bodies as the endless celebrities the media show us seem to do with ease. Who knows the reality of that weight-loss though or the circumstances. It’s normal to want to regain normality, particularly at a time nothing feels normal. Sleep-deprivation and a new life with baby can be daunting as it is. That inevitable weight gain can make you feel worse at a time you are already delicate.

Vicki of Honest Mum and son

The truth is that babies can see us in a body and often, a mind we don’t recognise as our own and whilst social media can be a great support it can also exacerbate low feelings.

I want to normalise post-baby bodies, for myself and others. My tummy is forever changed after 2 c-sections and whilst I don’t like it, I accept it. I won’t hide it and refrain from wearing a bikini. Truth be told, day to day I never think of my stretch-marks and I refuse to let it stop me from having fun on holiday or in the garden when the sun comes out and nor should you.

This is the caption that accompanied the photo above:

‘So the tummy has stretch marks and it will be a mumtum forever thanks to my little Spider-Man over here, and his older brother Oliver, but to those little guys, I’m a superwoman and that’s good enough for me⚡️! A picture I shared 2 years ago in my bikini (this exact one in fact) went viral (which was a shock) and I still receive emails to this day from women saying they feel more confident about their shape because of it. That they went swimming with their kids when they wouldn’t before. That they feel proud of their post-baby bodies and less pressured. Yes to that 🙌🏼. I’m working on my own body image every single day, for myself and most importantly for my kids. It’s not always easy, we’re our own worst enemy at times and social media can ramp up the pressure to appear perfect (which doesn’t exist of course) but we owe it ourselves and the future to feel fierce whatever our size and shape. We’ve got this people. Please join me if you fancy it when you share shots of your badass selves in your swimwear with the hashtag #proudinmybikini’

This photo comes 2 years after I shared a picture of me wearing the same bikini, in Jamaica which went viral much to my surprise.

I still get messages from women to this day telling me the positive effect it had on them (a lady even came to a workshop to hear me speak because of that photo). The strength the photo gave others in their own journey to accept their bodies and feel more confident meant the world to me. It made me feel strong in return.

Here’s another one we took the other week, too.

Honest Mum in her bikini

It’s hard but vital we keep the conversation going about our bodies, however difficult that might seem because that honesty will enable us to feel less alone, and more badass about ourselves. All shapes and sizes are beautiful and remember that we did good ladies, we made babies, and are raising children every day.

Let’s be more confident for our kids, ourselves and others watching our images and listening to our words.

Read more at honestmum.com (http://www.honestmum.com)

Kensington Mums tips: How to juggle work & motherhood

We have been asked in numerous interviews how we juggle work life balance and since the recent award nomination for the Best London Mummy Blogger for 2017, we thought it would be good to share our honest ways of juggling work life and motherhood. The juggle in its full meaning, what works and doesn’t work (for us).

It’s fair to say that being a mum is a full-time job in itself so trying to add work, “mummy time” and all that is important in one’s life as well is not an easy task.

To the question, how do you juggle work and life balance? There is no right or wrong, this is what works for us:

  1. Organisational Skills:
  • To do lists are a MUST! And for those, who like us, are stationary addicts its even fun to organize a weekly or monthly planner with different color highlighters & tick with different pens or pencils as you go along.

Dina: My to do list is the way I roll with work, supermarkets, birthday parties, bills, family events you name it. I live by bright Post it notes and the family calendar sitting in our kitchen wall is a good way to get the whole family organized and in the loop. Now my kids drop down their activities and birthday parties/playdates too. It is great to get the whole family involved and helps avoid unpleasant surprises during the week.

2. Time Management:

  • Be online and available to clients and business related thing when kids are not around or are being taken care of.
  • Be strict and draw the line. When you are working, work hard, When you are with kids, it’s their time. Try never to mix the two. We know how hard this can be but it’s important for the children to not resent you or your working life.

Nathalie: This is the toughest part for me. I always try and get all my work done when the children are in nursery and try and forget about my phone when I’m with them but with everyone juggling work and life balance in their own way and time it doesn’t always go according to plan. Also, social media plays a big role in not being able to let go of your phone much. When my 3.5yr old son made comments of me being on the phone instead of playing with him after a full day of us not being together, I felt like a terrible mother but slowly I am improving and either put my phone is a completely different room from where we are when we watch a cartoon together or play or just put it on silent mode for few hours.

Dina: We really work around our kid’s schedule, that’s more like it. As working Mums who work from home, time management is essential. Emails, meetings, phone calls and press events are mostly squeezed during school hours those are our working hours.  We limit distractions and time wasters by allocating specific time slots until the job gets done before moving on to the next task.

3. Prioritize: 

  • We could all do with few more hours in a day to get everything we need to do done but then again, if we had that more time… we would just pile more things on the list. It’s a vicious circle but it’s important to priorities correctly. The power of now is what counts.

 4. Team meetings:

  • We have ours weekly to get updates on work deadlines and projects. We believe that, in any working or personal relationship, communication is key. And especially when everyone follows their own schedule, it’s imperative to know what others are doing to avoid doubling work or “stepping on others work”.

5. Disconnect:

  • Our work is very much online, starting with emails, meetings, editing, writing and then of course, always switched on, on Social media. Its important to take breaks. Have a proper lunch break and don’t just grab something and rush it while trying to make work calls or fit in another email.

Nathalie: I can tell when I need a break from typing or my computer. I often notice the quality of my emails dropping or mistakes about to happen so I shut down and either go for a walk, run errand around the house or just take a moment to breath and look around if I’m in a café. I think a few minutes break every half an hour or hour is needed for productive work.

Dina:   My work never ends, and because I love what I do I find it hard to disconnect. I try to follow Nathalie’s advice but that doesn’t always work for me however much I want to. My dream? a holiday with no Wi-Fi

6. Childcare:

  • Finding good quality childcare is key in order to have your mind at peace and concentrate on your work without having to worry about the children.

Dina: My children are in school now so that gives me time daily to concentrate on work but I also travel a lot for work. I am very close to my family and my mother and sister are a big support system for me as well as my husband. Having someone you trust with your kids is important for me.

Nathalie: I work best when I know my children are in nursery rather than at home with someone. If I need to call a nanny and run to a meeting or attend an event, I like for them to be taken out and be fully entertained so that they don’t see my absence as negative.

7. Let go of the guilt:

  • It’s a common thing, as mothers, to feel guilty. Some mums don’t have a choice and other decide to work. Whether its to pursue a dream, maintain career or just wanting to keep connected with the outside world and mum duties, no one has the right to judge or make you feel guilty about it because you are not harming anyone. If fact, have you ever thought the good example you are giving your kids about working?

Dina: I always felt very guilty when I went back to work, even before Kensington Mums was born. Now, I truly believe that, where one has the passion, and possibility to pursue their dream career they should and that can only be a positive example to ones’ child.

8. Exercise:

  • Both to maintain a healthy lifestyle & maintain sanity, exercise is very important for you to keep fit and release any stress you may be piling up from work or children behavior. Don’t underestimate this, it will make a difference to your everyday approach to things.

Nathalie: I’ve become a runner since having my son almost 4 yrs ago now. It’s my time. I like to start the day with a run and it wakes me up and motivates me for the rest of the day. I like to run outdoors and take it all in.

Dina: My way to set off my steam is by attending a weekly boot camp class. Its intense exercise that really helps me.

If you don’t run, walking works just fine. If you can run errands, pick up and drop off by foot, consider doing so at least a couple of times per week. It’s great for the kids too.

If you are not an outdoor person or don’t have the time to go out or attend classes, there are some amazing work out DVD which you can follow once the kids are napping or asleep or event with the kids around as a family activity.

9. Make mummy time time a priority 

  • We cannot emphasise on this enough; every mum needs some alone time doing whatever is it that makes her happy outside of the family nucleus. Whatever it is that helps you recharge your batteries it is important to keep doing it on a regular basis. Doing so is not selfish it is a necessity and we all know too well that a happy mummy makes a happy family and if mama isn’t on top of things, the rest crumbles pretty quickly.

Dina: I live by my motto “choose happy” and on a daily basis I try and work things around what I love the most in life. This is both for work and family. Go out with your girlfriends if you are up to it or go to bed early with a DVD. Pick up a book or magazine and go read it in the park.  Whatever you do, make the time for you.

Nathalie: You are the most important person in your life so make sure you look after yourself in order to be able to make those around you happy too. Your children do not need a tired, stressed or grumpy mummy – Like in many things, its about the quality not the quantity so if needed, take more time for yourself to make the most of the time with your little ones.

10. Support network:

  • As our previous article “why it’s important to make mummy friends”, Mums are an incredible support. Every mum is different and so are children but mums generally understand what you are going through on a daily basis so open up and build strong relationships with mums around you.

Dina: Don’t fear asking for help & support and make sure you don’t only build the courage to do so when you are at breaking point. No friend out there will understand you more than another mum so don’t be shy.

Nathalie: Since I’ve started making friends with other mums, playdates have become a joy I actually look forward to.

 

11. Family Time:

  • Just as you make time for work, making time for your family, little ones and partner is crucial. This is important to nurture your family dynamic and it creates a sense of belonging and special family bonding.

Dina: My mum has a basket at the entrance of the door where we all keep our mobile phones when we go and visit her so we can really connect and talk to one another. I have recently applied this in our home. The minute my kids are home, my phone (aka as my mobile office) is tucked away until their bedtime. I do this so I can catch up with them, giving them the full attention they need and deserve. Multitasking: this is what work and motherhood is all about. One of our master essential skills which can be applied one handed sometimes.

Nathalie: We try to have dinner together every evening and bedtime for the kids is a family moment too. It’s the most precious time of day when we all sit together and my 3.5 yr old tells daddy all about his day at nursery & with myself and his little sister. It’s wonderful to see the day from his perspective and eyes… funnily it’s never as stressful and chaotic as I felt it was as we were living in which makes me think a lot.

We hope our tips may have helped or encouraged some of you in taking the time to do what you love best and still believe you are a inspiring role model to your children, amazing wife to your husbands or great partner to your companion.

We are our own person before embracing other roles in life.  As women we have the amazing capacity to multitask, we believe this to be a blessing and also, our super power. Remember that where there is a will there is a way and you can achieve it all.

We would love to hear about yours if you wish to share as many mums have already done in our Motherhood exhibition interviews for the past years. Get in touch

Picture credit by Verusckha Baudo Portrait, as part of our branding photoshoot.  Veruschka is an Italian contemporary portrait photographer and she specialise in photographing women, families and personal branding, drawing inspiration from the fashion world. Make up and hair by Slavomira Make up.

Parents set to pay new ‘nappy tax’ charges

This is something new to us. Parents are being squeezed by councils asking for extra payments to take away nappies as part of their household waste.

Families will be expected to pay an additional charge for “special bins”. The charges – for either larger bins or special plastic sacks – have been condemned as being unfair on families and there are fears that they will encourage fly-tipping.

In Dorset alone, seven councils are demanding the payments, potentially raising up to £100,000 a year in extra income.

The highest fees in Britain are in Northumberland, where families already have to pay £62 for larger bins.

Across the country, at least ten councils are imposing charges.

Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson who has a three-year-old son told Mail Online ‘This ‘nappy tax’ is unfair on new parents. Family finances are often at their most stretched with the arrival of a new baby, due to reduced pay during parental leave and the costs associated with a newborn. The last thing parents need is to be whacked by extra charges from the council. We need to improve recycling and cut down on waste, but that can be done without penalising parents with young children. Ultimately, though, we need to address the funding crisis facing local councils or services like bin collections will continue to be cut.’

The charges were introduced in Dorset last week. Families who tell their council they need a bigger bin for babies’ nappies will have to pay £33. The fee rises to £55 for families who are new to the area.

Special nappy sacks that were previously free will cost £13 for 26.

What are your thoughts about this?

 

Image credit: www.Mirror.co.uk

Kensington Mums made it as Runner up for Top London Mummy Blogger for 2017

A few weeks ago we received the wonderful news that we had been nominated for Motherhood London’s best mummy blogger for 2017. (read more here.)

The nomination alone, along side some incredible, inspiring women & fellow mums felt like a win already so when we found out we had actually made the top 3 as final result, we couldn’t be any less than overjoyed.

 

We would like to take a moment to congratulate the winner Lorna Hayward for her incredible work and this wonderful achievement as well as Sunita Harley from Lucky Things on making runner up with us, well done to both!

We would like to thank Motherhood London for the opportunity and all our readers, members followers, friends & family for your support and votes which have made it possible for us to make it in the top three for London’s best mummy blogger 2017.

Thank you!

Below words from Motherhood London Top Mummy Blogger Awards for 2017

“Our fabulous runners-up are Sunita Harley, of Lucky Things, and Dina Maktabi and Nathalie Bernadotte of Kensington Mums. Sunita won your hearts (and votes) with her chats about everything from confidence to IVF, from wellbeing to style. Or perhaps it was her professed love of lounge discos with her daughters… Dina and Nathalie’s website connecting mums and providing vital info for London families made theirs a go-to site for many of you”.

 

National Picnic Week, top tips for Mums

It is National Picnic Week (16th-25th June 2017) make it an excuse to be out out the parks with the kids. Grab your blankets and fill your baskets with yummies and get out to your local park for a good old fashioned picnic. If you are looking to explore new places for your upcoming picnic this weekend or during the holidays,  check out our favourite London parks here.

Here are some Top Tips for busy Mums when packing up for a picnic

Food to prepare and bring for a perfect picnic

We believe finger food to be the best in order to enjoy lunching or snacking without too much “mess” with little ones.

  • Mini pizza or pizza bites
  • stuffed pitta bread with cheese
  • humous dip with carrots, cucumber & other fresh veggies.
  • Cold pasta; either topped with shredded cheese or pesto (a classic)
  • Rice salad: cook your favourite rice and just add some veg and eggs
  • Fruit salad or watermelon which help keep hydrated
  • Make your own flavoured water ( let the kids help preparing)

What to bring

  • Colourful blanket for the whole family
  • Bring your hats and sunscreen
  • “Keep it cool”. Use cool bags or an icebox. This will keep food at the correct temperature to help avoid any risk of food poisoning when outdoors in the heat.
  • Wet wipes and bin bags are a must with babies and toddlers in tow
  • Bring toys; Balls, frisbee and tennis rackets are always a win when out with large groups of children. For the younger babies, books and stuffed toys. We also like to bring UNO card games, its one of our family favourites.
  • Disposable plates, cutlery & cups
  • Speakers for music can turn a simple picnic into a summer party so why not, make a playlist of favourite tunes and get dancing in the park with your friends & little ones.

Leave behind

  • Avoid ice cream, you can buy them from the park or local shop and make this a treat for your little ones.

 

Tag us with your pictures via our social media platforms @kensingtonmums  on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using hashtag #kensingtonmums for a chance to get featured.

North Kensington tower block fire declared major incident

Just as we finished posting the article on Borough Market, we wake up to horrible news, this time in Kensington.

Major incident declared at Grenfell Tower in Kensington. 40 fire engines & 200 firefighters at the scene.

We are praying for everyone living in Greenfell Towers to come out safe. We are praying for children, babies, kids families, adults and elderly to be healthy. We thank the London fire for all their hard work.

Make sure you follow @londonfire on Twitter and for updates.

Pictures and Message from Magali a Kensington Mums of two:

4hrs on and giving out water, looking for family and friends near by, seeing people sobbing, children wrapped in blankets, elderly people… loosing everything… so painfully surreal and horrific. Praying those who were separated find their loved ones.
Funny how everyone seems to look alike when you’re searching for faces in the crowd… 😔

The police came from all over the place, fire crew, ambulances, police…

Names are the last thing on their minds they said.

Portobello Rugby Club and two churches near by is where people were evacuated but we couldn’t find many people there.

Coaches had taken some people away, ambulances others.

Seeing the dark grey black smoke now I pray it’s getting under some control.

😢
Can’t sleep. Won’t sleep now. 🙏🏽 Just praying…

Several people and organisations are helping people affected by this horrible fire at Grenfell Tower, West London. We gathered some information available online and here is how you can help:

If you have spare clothes, toiletries, toys, nappies, food, bedding or anything you can think of that might be useful you can drop them to:

– St. Clements Church, 95 Sirdar Road, W11 4EQ

– Community Center, Clem Attlee Court, SW6 7PU (they will then take it to the evacuation centres in Ladbroke Grove)

– Rugby Portobello Trust, 221 Walmer Road, W11 4EY

– Tabernacle Christian Centre, Jubilee House, 210 Latimer Road, W10 6QY

If you are concerned about someone please call the Casualty Bureau on 0800 096 1233 or 0207 158 0197

You can join the Group on Facebook, Solidarity with residents of Grenfell tower here.  The group is open for all to join, if you can help with food, clothes or shelter for those near, or far. They are even asking local stores such as Tesco, Poundland and for any help or donations…

Members of the community have set up a Just Giving Page to help the victims of the Grenfell fire #grenfellfirefund

Love our community, Love London, Love Kensington.

Borough Market establishes trader support fund

Borough Market has established a trader support fund to help those individuals and businesses who have suffered losses as a result of its temporary closure. The fund will be set up in partnership with United St. Saviours and Better Bankside, and will provide financial assistance to members of the community who are dependent on the market.

The market has remained closed since the attacks of 3rd June, while the police investigation takes place. This has taken its toll on individuals and businesses with no other means of income.

The Chair of the Borough Market Trust, Donald Hyslop, commented, “An atrocity of this magnitude has many hidden victims. Among these are the independent traders and producers who rely upon Borough Market for their livelihood. With the market still closed and with valuable stock lost, some of these traders—although none would be quick to admit it—are struggling.”

He continued: “If any of these traders, whose skill and dedication make the market such a wonderful asset, were to find the viability of their work threatened by this act of violence, the result would be to add a sad injustice to a terrible tragedy. The Borough Market Trust and some of the wider Bankside community, the market’s larger businesses have joined together to establish a hardship fund for those traders who are suffering most in these uncertain times. Anyone who wishes to support this fund will find their generosity gratefully received. There was never any doubt in my mind that the market’s community would pull together in a crisis, but it is nonetheless humbling to see that solidarity in action.”

 

To donate to the fund, please visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/bmrelieffund

 

 

Father’s Day top 10 gift guide

Kensington Mums is dedicating June to Fatherhood to show dads our appreciation in all that they do as daddies to our little ones. Make sure you read our latest Inspiring Dads interviews.

Today we share with you our  top picks for Father’s day gifts ideas to help you in your decisions and make the shopping experience a bit easier for you.

  1. Surprise Daddy with a cute personalised key ring from Merci Maman.

2. Cute slogan tee for Father and Son from My 1st Years.

 

3. Dad Life Mug, buy it here.

4. Personalised Daddy and Me book from Not on the High Street.

5. Dadass T-shirt by Parent Apparel.

 

6. What I love about Dad novelty book from PaperChase.

 

7. Daddy and Me swimsuits available from Trotters.  They are now stocking adult-sized swimming trunks to match your little boys’ ones. So adorable and available in a few designs. Shop Daddy & Me!

 

 

8. Get your funniest Father’s day gift cards from Scribbler. Lots to choose from, so make a good pick!

9. Cute Father’s Day Keepsake from Poundland. 

 

 

10. Father’s day photo book. Capture those special moments in a photo book. Create one today with a 30% discount until 15th of June 2017 with code DAD30.

Celebrity Mums get dressed by the kids for Oxfam

Celebrity mums have kicked off Oxfam’s family-oriented fundraiser Dressed By The Kids, taking place on 16 June, to support the charity’s lifesaving work around the world.

TV personalities Kate Thornton, Gaby Roslin, Katie Piper, Suzanne Shaw and Ashley James, traded in their stylists to let their little ones loose on their wardrobes, wearing whatever jumbled concoctions they chose.

Oxfam is urging grown-ups across the nation – mums, dads, grandparents, siblings and family friends – to get seriously silly and get Dressed By The Kids on Friday 16 June. All money raised will support Oxfam’s work helping people escape poverty and survive humanitarian crises.

Presenter Kate Thornton (44), who enlisted the help of her son Ben (9) to launch the fun campaign, said: “Ben was in charge and we giggled all day. As a parent I want to teach him that we can help those who need it most, and Dressed By The Kids is a great way to do just that whilst having a whole tonne of fun.”

Presenter Gaby Roslin (52), who handed control of her outfit to children Libbi (15) and Amelie (10), said: “This is not the combination of clothes I would ever choose – a sequin shirt, satin skirt and a leopard print hat! I promised Amelie I would wear her outfit in its entirety today, and she had such fun choosing it, how could I refuse? As a family, we wanted to support Oxfam’s important work around the world, and you can too. Sign up to Dressed By The Kids Day, do it quick!”

Perhaps the wildest outfit of the day was sported by actress and singer Suzanne Shaw (34) who wore an eclectic mix of her husband’s and children’s clothes, picked by her sons Raffi (18 months) and Corey (12).

Shaw said: “I can’t quite believe the outfit the kids have chosen for me. Needless to say I wouldn’t wear my husband’s underpants over a onesie on any old Friday. But for Oxfam, it’s totally worth it. Oxfam helps mums and dads earn a wage so they can feed their families, and they help children the same age as mine in extreme poverty access education. If you sign up to get dressed up, your fundraised money will go to those who need it most. Go to oxfam.org.uk/silly to find out how you can join me in giving poverty a dressing down on 16 June.”

Oxfam works for the 1 billion people living in extreme poverty, and the millions of families that don’t have the things they need to live safely and in good health.

As one of Britain’s most longstanding charities, Oxfam has been working with the world’s poorest people for more than 70 years. Operating across 90 countries, Oxfam is currently supporting millions of families facing starvation and other extreme hardship – including hunger crises in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and South Sudan.

Philanthropist Katie Piper (33), dressed in unicorn horns and odd shoes by her daughter Belle (3) said: “I would never wear this! But as Belle has chosen it to help kids her age in the world’s poorest countries, how could I refuse? I can’t wait to see what the nation is dressed up like on 16 June, kids really do have the wildest imaginations.”

DJ and model Ashley James (30) said: “Come on Britain, sign up and get fundraising for Oxfam!”

To sign up to take part in Dressed By The Kids Day, go to www.oxfam.org.uk/silly. Follow the event on social media using #DressedByTheKids.

Top Tips to Keep your Relationship Alive

We are so happy to have Arnie Rozah Krogh   share her top tips on how to keep your relationship alive. This is very important in the life of a mother as we mostly get to put our kids priority before our man. She is a Mum of four children, you can read about her motherhood journey here.

It’s so heady when we fall in love with someone new and everything we/he/she does is so exciting and intriguing. It feels like nothing can go wrong. Experts say and many will agree, the early days of a relationship is called the ‘honeymoon period’ whether we make a commitment of marriage or not. Generally, this period will last between 12-18 months before the ‘mundane’ takes over.


Most relationships can survive being mundane though what happens when mundane sets in when you start having kids? The stress of earning an income coupled with the daily chores of school runs, laundry, cooking dinner and catching up on the latest news on our hand held devices can put a toll on our love lives. So what do we do to counter act all these? More importantly, why should we bother?

It’s a sad fact that today, silver divorces are on the rise. These are couples who are divorcing in their 50’s and above. These are the same people who are the pioneers of 2 working parents’ household. They were the first generation that worked hard outside, earning an income while juggling kids and housework. A lot of them cited growing apart while growing older as a big reason for it.

Growing apart in a relationship can be down to a lack of communication on many levels. So let me share with you some tips to counter this trend.

  • Stop treating each other like mum and dad or house mates but back to being lovers again

So many couples make this mistake and no, it’s not a terrible mistake to make. Our kids become the centre of our family life and in many ways, that is fine. It becomes unfortunate when they are the sole focus of our time together as a family. We need to remind ourselves that before we became parents, we were first lovers. Talk like lovers again and with the same gentleness we afford our young toddlers. You’ll be surprised how passionate evenings can become again even before the lights are off.

  • Go on regular date nights

Referring back to the point above, a date night is a good reminder to ourselves that we are also lovers away from the madness of our household. It doesn’t have to be weekly but do do it regularly (at least once a month). During this date night, ban any talks of school work, PTA meetings, household chores that need dividing but instead, talk about the kind of topics you used to bring up when you were dating. Discuss the latest movies and the reviews, check out the latest must-try restaurants/café and review the menu as a couple with differing/similar taste, watch a late night funny movie with a giant tub of popcorn and giggle away like kids, take a stroll hand in hand along the river and discuss positive news you’ve heard and experienced recently.

  • Find a new hobby/activity to do together regularly

Find a new activity as a couple even if you have enjoyed something together in the past. Been thinking of trying out that new hot yoga class around the corner? Go on and cheer each other on! How about becoming volunteers at a soup kitchen? This is the more spiritual version of the ‘family prays together’ bit. You can appreciate again how compassionate and kind your partner is and helps you both appreciate how blessed your lives are. Start discussing what kind of mutual sports or activities that has piqued your interest recently and start exploring

  • Go someplace new once a year just the 2 of you

The location doesn’t even have to be ‘exotic’ meaning fancy. It could be a local city nearby! All that needs to matter is that you have both decided on this new place together and actively planned activities together. As in the rules above, this (possibly) short getaway must have no talk of kids, housework or other mundane stuff that will possibly bring the mood down.

  • Grab Sports Tickets

Why not catch a local football/hockey/basketball match together and get your adrenaline pumping cheering on your preferred team? Pumping your blood with adrenaline is great for the relationship: it heightens your positive attitude towards your partner.

  • Have a photography session

Instead of hiring a photographer, grab your own impressive digital camera and start snapping away shots of each other. Most women generally are the family photographers so besides her own selfie, she might not have candid portraits of herself. This is a good opportunity to see how our partners look at us through the lenses.

  • Watch a Comedy Show

Science has proven that laughter is indeed one of life’s best medicine. Laughing can lower our blood pressure yet put colours to our cheeks. Laughing together with a partner can heighten sexual tension as endorphins are released.

And last but not least,

  • Silent Communication

With all said and done, today a lot of people are missing deep emotional connection despite our attachment to digital connection. Spend some time before bed just looking at each other. Dim the lights, put on some soft classical music in the background and perhaps unwrap that lovely candle you got as a Xmas gift. Don’t feel the need to say anything. Just take a deep breath, let all your muscles relax and just hold hands. Look gently into each other’s eyes and let your soul speak to each other. Stroke his/her cheeks to show your passion. Let that gentle kiss come across without any urgency to do more. This should not be the pre-cursor to sex. This is just you 2 ‘talking’ with your chemistry and your soul. Cuddle tight and just listen to each other’s breath for as long as possible. Feel each other’s stress melt away. Silently send loving thoughts to our partner and let them know how much they mean to us.

 

 

 

 

Facebook Live with Dr Shazia Malik

We are proud to have join us for a Facebook Live, Dr Shazia Malik MBChB (Honours), MRCOG*
Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, Subspecialist Reproductive Medicine. She works both in a busy high risk NHS maternity unit as well as her private Obstetrics and Gynaecology practice at the renowned Portland Hospital in London.

Dr Shazia has been a contributor to Kensington Mums and will also be part of the panel of speakers at our event on 6th of June at the Chelsea Harbour Club.

We have key influencers, health experts, leaders within feminism and influential mums attending, so that we can really break boundaries and open up conversations that surely will go on and on! Lets Talk About Vagina’s!

The topic she will cover on our Facebook Live will be focusing on What does your vagina have to do with anything?  

This will be taking place on Tuesday 30th May at 8pm. Tune in on our Facebook Page.

 

Our speakers for the Lets talk about Vaginas event on 6th June 2017 includes:

Dr Lana Tattum- Co Founder of Ideal U London & Expert in Vaginal Rejuvination
A qualified doctor and expert in Vaginal rejuvenation, Lana is a medical professional with years of experience in the field. She knows that many women experience sexual problems post baby, and often assume this is normal post-pregnancy and they should put up with painful sex, incontinence and decreased sexual sensation or they should rely fully on Kegel exercises. They couldn’t be more wrong – and Dr Lana will be on hand to answer questions, dispel the myths and give you a direct solution to addressing your problems. 
 
Harriet Waley Cohen – Body Love Coach & Body Confidence
To learn about your vagina, you need to get out of your head. As a Body Love & Body Confidence expert and mother of 3, Harriet gets the emotional connection between us and our bodies/vagina’s, and will be taking us on a journey of enlightenment. Being the Founder of Fantasies & Realities, and having led workshops with The Killing Kittens, Harriet is the go-to for helping women get out of their head and strengthen their connections with themselves…and their vagina’s.
 
Samantha Evans – Co-Founder of Online Sex Toy Company, Jo Divine
Samantha is a mother of three and a true change-maker when it comes to nursing, and her work at Jo Divine in the sexual pleasure and intimacy industry. She is a hub of knowledge and information – you will be so glad you met her! Think Sex 101 for motherhood! Be prepared to learn the things you never knew you didn’t know. Passionate about the transformative effects of understanding your body and the sexual products that we use, she will share with you the simple steps to enjoying a sex life that is as good – or better – than the one you had before children.
 
Dr Shazia Malik – Subspecialist Reproductive Medicine

A Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist at the Portland Hospital, Shazia’s practice spans both Obstetrics as well as general fertility which means she generally has all of the answers! A bit of a media guru, she is regularly asked to contribute as an expert in the national media, is a Huffington Post blogger and has featured in a BBC documentary on the Portland as well as Woman’ Hour on Radio 4.
 
Mindy Gill – Celebrity Hypnotherapist 
Mindy is a leading celebrity hypnotherapist; a reflection of two opposites: being the first female hypnotherapist to really break new ground in the industry as well as the new contemporary face of Hypnotherapy – immersed in popular culture, lifestyle and feminism. She works very closely with mums in the relationships, sex and postpartum depression area and will be on hand to share the secrets of hypnosis and hypnotising yourself to a better sex life and mum-hood!

Book your ticket now to secure your place.

Are you ready to know what you don’t know?

Join the conversation on 6th of June 2017. Click here for more information.

May Half Term Scoop 2017

Chelsea Swim Spa offers parent and baby swimming lessons in a private pool in the heart of Chelsea. Boasting the warmest pool in town, the pool is kept at a constant temperature of 34C or above. Swimming lessons are available for babies, children and adults. Private hire for the pool is also available. Chelsea Swim Spa is offering Kensington Mum readers a 40% discount on private hire £30 instead of £50 for 90 minutes and 50% discount for a taster lessons for new customers £11 instead of £22. Please contact Darya for bookings  on hello@chelseaswimspa.co.uk Quote: KMuMs

 

Whether your child’s keen to start a Saturday or after-school music club for the first time, or ready to join a band, orchestra or choir, your local music service is a great source of information for all things musical where you live. Please log-on to www.learnmusic.london, click on the borough where you live and start the conversation!

 

 

Telling Tales – free family workshops at the British Library on Saturday 21 May, 11.00 and 14.00. Listen to traditional Norwegian folktales at the British Library’s next free family friendly workshop. Storyteller Olivia Armstrong tells tales of fantastic foxes, greedy giants, wonderful witches and terrible trolls, to help inspire your magical stories. Why not make a salad with words, write a giant-sized story and perform it with your family? Be a word wizard and join in the fun.

 

Matilda & Revolting Rhymes’ Performing Arts Week!  This May half term, Little Voices Fulham will be running a ‘Matilda & Revolting Rhymes’ inspired performing arts week for boys and girls aged 4 – 13 Years. Children will be transported through a wondrous four-day week of singing, dancing & acting. Whether they imagine themselves to be Matilda, Miss Trunchball, Miss Honey or even one of the naughty children. Little Voices will ensure that they will have a week to remember.  Learn an entire script in 4 days – Be part of a big show!  Tuesday 30th May, Wednesday 31st May, Thursday 1st June and Friday 2nd June – St. Etheldreda Church, 528 Fulham Palace Road, SW6 6JF –  9.30am – 3.30pm each day Price: £170 Four Days! BOOK BEFORE 19th May and receive £10 OFF!

After a sell-out Easter programme Miss Sophie’sa new London based holiday club for children, has announced May half term dates and now with a new website offering an easy booking system for busy parents. The following activities are open to young and curious minds: 
Tuesday 30th May – Horrible Histories at Hampton Court Palace.
Wednesday 31st May – Comedy, Arts and History with a Trip to the Unicorn Theatre and an afternoon aboard HMS Belfast.
Thursday 1st June – Explore what life is like in a Metropolis at The Institute of Imagination using mechanics, science and technology.

This May half term, drop your 8-11 year-old off at Nature Explorers for a day of exciting exploration! They’ll get to have a wild walk to Kensington Gardens’ allotment for some digging, planting and to feed our chickens. Or, take your family to one of our FREE Discovery Days at our Education Centre in the heart of Hyde Park! Your family will be treated to amazing nature-inspired activities, including visiting our minibeast hotel; a spring nature trail; arts; crafts and more. You’re sure to find something for the whole family. Nature Explorers – 30th May Discovery Day – 31st May – 1st June.

 

Get 15% OFF your first lesson at your own pool and be sure your child is water confident and ready for their summer holiday. Book a time and date that is most convenient for you, avoid the stress of traveling and have the added benefit of being in your own home. We are a dedicated, friendly team determined to include all children irrespective of ability. At Making Waves Swim School we focus on the individual needs of each child. Our lessons are structured, stimulating, engaging but most of all fun, whilst teaching the all important life skill of swimming. Call 01829 782 494

Every day thousands of parents & carers choose Gymboree Play & Music because they want the best for themselves & their children. Our classes utilise a unique combination of music, movement, props, imaginary play & custom-designed & patented apparatus, all to create a magical world where children learn, thrive & most importantly have fun. We are often told by parents, “You are the only class that manages to engage my child.” This is not a coincidence! It is a reflection of the fact that we are the experts in early childhood development; book in for your free trial today!

 

Albert and Friends Instant Circus. The last thing you want your child to do is run away with the circus right? Well think again! Our holiday courses bring the best of our practitioners together to offer a unique and creative environment where children can learn a whole host of circus skills. Combining just the right amount of teaching with a whole lot of fun and friendship- making, children have the chance to have a go at stilt walking, ball walking, juggling, tightrope and unicycle, ending the week with a presentation of their newly acquired skills for parents and friends. “Fantastic, challenging, great fun and brilliantly led”.

 

Visit KidZania London this May Half term! Plan a trip to KidZania London, the indoor city where the kids are in charge and participate in a host of activities. Children can join Capital FM’s team of radio DJs broadcasting news to the City, take on the role of fruitologist at the Innocent smoothie kitchen or even work as a stylist at H&M’s fashion studio; alongside a range of other unique, real-life role play experiences. KidZania London offers 4-14 year olds more than 60 real life activities. Blending learning with reality and entertainment, each career at KidZania is developed to teach kids essential life skills including financial literacy, teamwork and independence. Designed to empower and entertain kids, KidZania gives children the chance to challenge themselves and explore the world of opportunities. Book your tickets at www.kidZania.co.uk

Looking for some summertime fun for your little ones? Join the Sharky & George Adventure Club in Hyde Park from 10th-28th July! Each day will be jam-packed with fun and games and endless activities, including tug of war, mini olympics, rocket launching, science madness and of course, A LOT of water bombs! Prices: £377 per child for one week (Mon-Fri) OR £83 per child per day.  Ages: 5-10 year olds. Sign up now for an early bird special – 10% off your booking until 4 June 2017!

 

Grass Animal Zoo at WWT London Wetland Centre Visit our Grass Animal Zoo this May half term, from Saturday 27 May until Sunday 4 June. The display includes a bear and giraffe, a hippo and a camel.  Discover which of the eight animals live in wetlands and which of them can go for days without water. Some of the animals are life size – and some of them dwarf their real life cousins!  The animals are all located in the grounds of our beautiful nature reserve where you can also see real wetland creatures such as ducks, otters, water voles and dragonflies. WWT London Wetland Centre, Queen Elizabeth’s Walk, Barnes SW13 9WT

 

Join Keren and her team at Keren’s nursery, Holland Park every Friday morning for a magical hour of Family Kabalat Shabbat with your little ones. During this hour Challah bread will be prepared and candles will be lit to teach our little ones the meaning of Shabbat . Between 9:45 – 10:45 also during half term. Don’t miss out! Please call on 02074313823 or email the nursery  hollandpark@kerensnursery.com to book for your little ones & secure their place.

 

 

 Teddy Tennis. Sport Music and Fun! Let your child join the fun and get the amazing benefits of doing
teddy tennis. The 5 C’s Improved ; Co-ordination, Confidence, Co-operation, Creativity, Communication They learn to play by seeing the picture, hearing the song and then by doing the activity. It works and the children learn and enjoy. We have Classes in Holland Park off Kensington high street and the new indoor Kensington Leisure Centre, near Ladbroke grove 6 days a week. We have separate classes for children from 2.5 year all the way up to 6 years of age.

 

 

 

Design Museum. Designed in California’ is the new ‘Made in Italy’.  The exhibition opens on 24 May 2017 and runs until 15 October 2017. While California’s mid-century modernism is well documented, this is the first exhibition to examine its current global reach. Picking up the story in the 1960s, the exhibition charts the journey from the counterculture to Silicon Valley’s tech culture.​

 

 

 

Sensational Butterflies at the Natural History Museum. Enjoy a fun family day out among hundreds of live butterflies and moths in our tropical butterfly.

 

 

 

The National Army Museum’s new Play Base has re-opened and is welcoming 0-8 year old visitors for Soft Play fun and a variety of engaging activities in an immersive base camp. It will support the youngest visitors in achieving an initial understanding of the army as an organisation.  Each session lasts an hour and costs £4.50 per child.

 

 

 

Exhibition Road’s Victoria and Albert Museum opens the first international retrospective of one of the most iconic and influential bands in the world – Pink Floyd.

 

 

 

 

Free Workshop for Kids aged 5-12 at National Gallery every Sunday at 11am and 2pm. Also don’t miss out on their magic carpet Sunday as well as Messy Mondays during holidays. Click here for more information.

 

 

 

 

 

Pick-up activities at Tate Britain. Experience Tate Britain in a new way with exciting ideas to get you talking and creating in the galleries together as a family. Click here for more information.

 

 

 

 

 

Lots of fun at the Museum of Docklands this May half term. From Little mudlarks to underwater inventions. Check their website for more information.

 

How Yelling at your kids can Hurt, and How to Stop It

We wanted to share this important video published on The Wall Street Journal, because as mothers we sometimes yell and I am sure we are not alone in this. Every parent losses their temper with his or her child. In fact, researchers say there are signs parental yelling is on the rise. Sue Shellenbarger has the latest research on how to avoid blowing up, and mother of two Leigh Fransen shares her story.

 

Nearly every parent loses control and screams at the children now and then. But what if you do it repeatedly?

Researchers suspect parents are yelling more. Parents have been conditioned to avoid spanking, so they vent their anger and frustration by shouting instead. Three out of four parents yell, scream or shout at their children or teens about once a month, on average, for misbehaving or making them angry, research shows. Increasingly, therapists and parenting experts are homing in on how it hurts a child, as well as how to stop it. 

Raising your voice isn’t always bad. Loudly describing a problem can call attention to it without hurting anyone, says Adele Faber, a parenting trainer in Roslyn Heights, N.Y., and co-author of “How to Be the Parent You Always Wanted to Be.” For example: “I just mopped the kitchen floor and now it is covered with muddy footprints.”

 

Yelling becomes damaging when it is a personal attack, belittling or blaming a child with statements such as “Why can’t you ever remember?” or, “You always get this wrong!” Ms. Faber says.

Many parents lose control because they take children’s misbehavior or rebellion personally, research shows: They feel attacked or think the child’s actions reflect poorly on them. Parents who see a child’s negative emotions as unexpected, overwhelming and upsetting tend to feel more threatened and frustrated with each new outburst, says a study published earlier this month in the Journal of Family Psychology. This pattern, called “emotional flooding,” triggers a downward spiral in the relationship, disrupting the parent’s problem-solving ability and fueling emotional reactions, such as yelling. 

Teens whose parents use “harsh verbal discipline” such as shouting or insults are more likely to have behavior problems and depression symptoms, says a recent study of 976 middle-class adolescents and their parents, published online last September and led by Ming-Te Wang, an assistant professor of psychology and education at the University of Pittsburgh.

Another study suggests yelling at children may have consequences that go beyond those of spanking. Eight-year-olds whose parents disciplined them by yelling have less satisfying relationships with romantic partners and spouses at age 23, according to a 15-year study led by Stephanie Parade, an assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown University. “Parents who yell may miss out on a chance to teach children to regulate their emotions,” she says.

Spanking also predicted less satisfying adult relationships, but the negative effects were offset when parents praised their children at other times. The negative effects of yelling weren’t erased by parental warmth, however. The negative problem-solving tactics that children learn when their parents yell may stick with them as adults, says the study, published in 2012 in Marriage & Family Review. Children also may expect others to treat them in a negative way, and unconsciously pick partners who fulfill that expectation.

“Yelling is where 90% of us do the most damage,” says Julie Ann Barnhill, a speaker and author of “She’s Gonna Blow,” a book on parental anger that has sold 135,000 copies. Ms. Barnhill says she used to yell one to three times a week at her children when they were preschoolers. She got counseling, and learned to control her anger and discipline her kids in calmer, more positive ways, techniques she now teaches other parents in speeches and workshops.

Parents can learn to notice signs that a blowup is brewing and dial down their own tension. Warning signs can include: tightness in the throat or chest, shallow or rapid breathing, a clenching of the teeth or jaw, negative thoughts about oneself or feelings of being overwhelmed.

 

 

Deep breathing, envisioning a pleasant scene, counting to 10 or leaving the room can help. Ms. Barnhill advises practicing calming thoughts, such as “I’m having a miserable day, but getting angry will just make things worse.”

Build a margin of spare time into daily routines to allow time for minor mishaps, such as spilled milk or lost jackets, says Jill Savage, author of “No More Perfect Moms.” She adds, “If I have 20 minutes to clean up after dinner, I’m more likely to handle that spilled milk well.”

Learning to start sentences with “I” rather than “you” can help parents shift from an angry attack to a teaching moment, Ms. Faber says. “Say what you don’t like, then add what you would like or expect.”

Leigh Fransen felt like yelling when her daughters, 10-year-old Alona and 8-year-old Elisha, forgot to feed the family dog, Balto, on two evenings in the same week. “This is a really important responsibility, and they’re always asking me for more pets,” says Ms. Fransen, of Fort Mill, S.C. “I wanted to yell, ‘You’re not getting any dinner tonight, because you didn’t feed the dog, and you’re going to know how it feels’—which would lead to nothing but tears and misery, and probably to me backing down.”

Instead, she started her response with “I,” saying, “I don’t like seeing the dog not fed. Look at him: He is miserable. I expect him to be fed before you eat your own dinner,” Ms. Fransen says. Alona and Elisha needed to be reminded of the deadline twice, but soon learned to remember on their own. Ms. Fransen praised them for taking responsibility and encouraged them to see that “Balto seems much happier now that he’s getting dinner on time.”

Many parents blow up because they have unrealistic expectations—such as assuming a two-year-old shouldn’t push parental limits, says Ms. Savage, chief executive of Hearts at Home, a Normal, Ill., nonprofit that runs conferences on parenting issues, including discipline. “We say to our children, ‘Act your age,’ and in reality, they are,” she says. Not expecting children to be perfect, or nearly so, can calm parents’ frustrations, Ms. Savage says. So can seeing a child’s failure as an opportunity for him to learn. 

Parents can turn a meltdown into a teaching moment by involving kids in finding solutions, Ms. Faber says. She suggests waiting for a calm moment and stating the rule the child violated. Then give the child a choice about how to prevent the misbehavior from happening again. Inviting a child to suggest solutions teaches problem-solving skills.

Sara Weingot of Baltimore used the technique after her 6-year-old son misbehaved during an outing in her minivan, kicking and pushing two other kids’ booster seats. She later told him she never wanted it to happen again, then listened sympathetically as he explained that he had been squeezed too tightly between two other kids’ car seats.

Ms. Weingot gave him a choice between staying home with a babysitter next time and finding another solution. He made a list from “get a better car” to taking turns with his siblings in more comfortable seats, an idea that worked, Ms. Weingot says.

Apologizing can help repair a relationship after an outburst, says Ms. Barnhill, the author. She took her daughter aside in her teens and apologized for an explosive incident a few years earlier. “I have this memory of being in your face and yelling at you. I am so sorry, sweet girl,” Ms. Barnhill says she told her. 

Her daughter Kristen Draughan, who is now 25, married and studying for a master’s degree in social work, says she doesn’t remember her mother yelling much when she was a child. But Ms. Draughan does recall that her mother’s remorse made her burst into tears. “It showed that she cared about my feelings,” she says.

Article and words by Sue Shellenbarger from WSJ.com.

A month by month guide to pregnancy for the family to share

Courtney Adamo and Esther van de Paal have been friends for 12 years, since the birth of their first babies in London, in 2005. As new mothers, they bonded over motherhood and the questions, concerns and joys that come with parenting. They have each gone on to have nine children between them.

 

They recently launched their new book: 9 Months, A month by month guide to pregnancy for the family to share. Read their interview with us here.

Can you believe that every one of us started as a tiny egg in our mummy’s belly? One tiny cell, not bigger than a speck of dust, will grow into a baby in just nine months time. In 9 months we follow this amazing process called pregnancy, and see the miracle of a creation of a new life. This is what they had to say about the book.

 

We already know that children love watching nature documentaries about animals and insects and how they reproduce.  Children are fascinated by these facts! For some reason, however, when it comes to the human body and reproduction, we parents become uncomfortable and try to shield our children from what is a very natural and beautiful process.

~ Courtney Adamo

“From years of experience, we’ve realised the need for a book that explains the wonders of pregnancy in a straight-forward, no nonsense way to children of all ages. 9 Months is a beautiful and accessible book that helps children understand how a baby develops and grows during pregnancy. It also aims to show children how magical, wonderful and unique the creation of human life is, making it easy to discuss pregnancy and childbirth with them.”

~ Esther van de Paal

This fun and informative way to prepare your child for the arrival of their new baby brother or sister is written by two of today’s most popular parenting bloggers, Courtney Adamo and Esther van de Paal.

 

  • Whilst several picture books exist to help expanding families, this is a ground-breaking non-fiction book about this pivotal and beautiful time for families, packed with facts to answer the many questions children have around the arrival of a baby .

 

  • Designed for sharing this book draws on the authors’ extensive real-life experience; they have 9 children between them and many years of answering “difficult” questions in a straightforward, open and sensitive manner.

 

  • Perfect for any family (expecting or not) who want a natural and comfortable way to discuss interesting facts about pregnancy without the need for euphemisms or abstract language.

 

  • Ideal for children across a wide age range; whilst the information and illustrations have been carefully presented with toddlers in mind, older children will be fascinated by the interesting facts, learning how to confidently articulate their questions and thoughts about the natural and beautiful process which is pregnancy.

 

  • Find out more about the book in this book trailer

 

The importance of self care for mothers

We have had Dr Shazia Malik contribute to our website and community before. She wrote about contraception which you can read about it here. I believe as Mothers this topic is something we will come by at some point or another. Today she discusses the importance of self care for Mothers.

When you have delivered your baby, all your attention becomes focused on this new little person. But for him/her to be happy and healthy, you need to feel good both physically and mentally. So self-care for a new Mother is really very important for the wellbeing of the whole family. I therefore spend quite a bit of time with my clients, especially first time parents, after their delivery on discussing this issue.

In the first few days, the most pressing things are recovering from the birth itself and establishing feeding (whether breast, bottle or both). If you are in pain, it can be difficult to get comfortable, sleep or go to the toilet, so regular and effective pain relief is crucial – make sure to take it before the discomfort becomes intense as then it can get quite hard to overcome the pain. It is not harmful to your baby if you are breastfeeding and actually helps you to do all that is required for your baby. After a difficult vaginal birth or a caesarean it is quite normal to need painkillers for several weeks, so make sure that you have enough at home when you are discharged.

If you have gad a vaginal tear or episiotomy, and are feeling sore and swollen, sitting on a ring cushion can be very helpful as well as using ice-packs – for example you may have heard of vaginal popsicles, which are in fact condoms that have been filled with water, tied and frozen at home. You can take one out, let it become a little slushy and then put it against your perineum (not in the vagina) after wrapping it in a cloth or paper towel, or even inserting inside a pad or large panty liner between the backing and the pad. . Once used, throw away. You should use pads not tampons for the first 6 weeks after birth, until your body has healed and got back to normal. Sitting in a warm bath twice a day with a cup of sea salt and a few drops of tea tree oil is also very helpful to aid in healing and reducing swelling. Do not use shower gel or soap until you have completely healed. Also Arnica tablets are thought to help with bruising and swelling whatever kind of delivery you have had – and are safe to take whilst breast- feeding. I also recommend trying to get air to the perineum – best done by lying or sitting on a disposable nappy changing mat after having washed your perineum. Try and sit like this for an hour at a time if the bleeding allows, and change pads at least every 4 hours or so.

If you have had a caesarean birth, similar advice applies – try and get as much air to the wound as possible, don’t use shower gel or soap, and pat dry after washing with water. You should wait until your postnatal check to start applying Vitamin E cream or Bio- oil to it – this helps to break down scar tissue and the typical hardness directly under the healing scar – you can massage for 10 minutes a day, but very gently and not if it is at all painful. I would not recommend wearing a caesarean ‘corset’ for more than 8 hours a day and not at all for the first couple of weeks.

Try to avoid constipation – if plenty of fluids and fibre don’t help, then do get medication from your doctor – or you can buy Movicol sachets which work very well, and are gentle on the tummy. Don’t be afraid to open your bowels – the stitches will hold! Also the time to do pelvic floor or Kegel exercises is whenever

you feed your baby. You are usually sitting then for long enough to do the exercises and help your vaginal tissues to regain their tone and strength. Good maternity units will have a physiotherapist to visit you and discuss postnatal exercises and self-care for muscle support.

Do drink plenty of water and mobilise as much as is comfortable – this helps your milk supply, passing urine and reduces the risk of developing a thrombosis. Now is not the time to diet – have a varied and healthy diet, and multivitamins (especially Vitamin D) if you are breastfeeding. If you need iron do take it – and treat constipation if that is an issue rather than stopping the iron tablets. Do get support with breast-feeding – even having a breastfed a child previously, you can still find yourself with sore nipples or latching difficulties the next time – there are often local workshops and some health authorities have breastfeeding support teams who will visit you at home until you feel confident.

Emotional and mental well-being is so very important for your health and ability to care for your self and your baby. It is perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed and ‘blue’ in the first few weeks – but if you feel negative and low all the time or have thoughts of harming yourself or your baby, then please speak to a professional – your midwife or GP are best. Do discuss how you are feeling with your partner, relatives and friends – and make sure that you get out regularly even for a little while. Try and make some ‘me time’ at least once a week when someone you trust can take care of your baby between feeds and you can do something you enjoy. Sleep whenever you are able especially after the morning feed – and always have enough food and snacks at home to keep you nourished. Try and get in to a routine as soon as you are able including getting changed and freshened up– get some postnatal clothes whilst pregnant so that you can feel more like your old self, and do try and catch up with old friends and colleagues when you feel able. I do encourage my clients to join local antenatal and postnatal parents’ groups, as this gives a local support network which can be invaluable in those first few months after having a baby.

If you can, do get some help with your baby to allow you time to spend with your partner and any other children that you have. It can be hard to do, but allows you to give attention to the rest of your family, and also to yourself – all part of caring for yourself and your loved ones.

Most of all trust your instincts as a woman and a mother – and love your body whatever pregnancy and birth do to it as you have achieved a miracle!

When to seek urgent medical attention:

• You have a fever ( temperature over 38° C/100.4 °F)
• You notice swelling, redness, warmth or pus around your incision
• You have sudden worsening pain around your incision or in your abdomen • You feel pain when you pass urine
• You have foul-smelling vaginal discharge
• You have leg pains or swelling

• You experience difficulty breathing or chest pain
• You get severe headaches, vomiting, blurred vision or upper abdominal pain

(signs of pre-eclamsia)

Children’s Digital Book Extraordinaire

This is a story of four great heroes sent by a very noble king frog to find an incredibly special gift for you, the reader. Of course, things don’t turn out at all as planned and you’ll never guess what our intrepid heroes return with …!

Galdo’s Gift is a new kind of digital book brought to you by two local artists fresh from their fledgling animation studio called Tapocketa. Written in rhyming verse, it’s getting kids vocal about vocabulary. Exquisitely illustrated, the characters animate on the page as the story unfolds on your screen, this fantastic book is both a feast for the eyes and a twister for the tongue.

One of the unique things about this book are the brilliant word definitions that pop up throughout the narrative. These serve to encourage kids to love new words and never before has learning tricky words been made such fun.

The authors Trevor Young and Eleanor Long will be entertaining and educating kids of all ages at the Barnes Children’s Literature Festival on the Sunday 14th May.

 

Pop in to the Bookshop Marquee tent at 11.00am for a one off, free performance of madness and mayhem. They promise to don their masks, trumpets and swords to give you a live rendition of the book.

Be there to find out for yourself … and even a chance to create your own hero to battle through the kingdom of Galdovia!

Let the masked mayhem begin …

More details regarding the festival at Barnes Kid’s Lit Fest site

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital Open Day

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital is gearing up to welcome visitors to its 11th annual Open Day. This year we will be showcasing our values and our plans to redevelop our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and adult Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

Chief Executive Lesley Watts said: “This is set to be a very special Open Day for us as our teams will be showcasing their work and how proud they are to be able to care for patients while in hospital.

“We will be sharing our plans to redevelop our critical care services for children and adults. This essential work will allow us to treat 700 more critically ill adults and babies every year.

“At last year’s Open Days we recruited 30 new nurses to join our team. This year we will continue to actively recruit staff to clinical and non-clinical roles, as well as volunteers, at these events so if you’re keen to join one of the best performing and forward thinking Trusts in London then please come along on the day.”

If you are thinking of working for the NHS, if you are concerned about your health, if you want to know how we care for over 600,000 patients a year, or just want to entertain the kids, then this is a must-do event. Last year nearly 1,700 people came along and we’re hoping even more people come to what is a great day out.

 

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital Open Day
Saturday 20 May, 11am–3pm
Chelsea and Westminster Hospital
369 Fulham Road
London
SW10 9NH

 

 

Quality Burgers in Kensington

As it is burger month, we wanted to share with you our favourite burger places in and around Kensington.

  • Byron Burger is well known for its ‘proper burgers’. Located at the doors of Holland Park its definitely a family favourite spots in the area. The place is very baby & child friendly with buggy park as well as high chairs and baby changing rooms.

  • Five Guys UK. We were so happy to hear that 5 Guys opened on High Street Kensington, it saved us the commute to Covent Garden or Westfield for a delicious meal.

  • Honest Burger, with branches pretty much all over London, Honest Burgers has a vast range of burgers that won’t disappoint a true burger lover.

  • Gourmet Burget Kitchen, located in Earls Court and Notting Hill.
  • Sticky Fingers  has been a favourite of mine since I was a child. With many shops continuously coming and going around Kensington and London it makes me very happy to be able to still walk past it now. Just off High Street Kensington, this is the perfect family place for a girls night out or family lunch or dinner. Kids love it too.  As they say its ‘Good food, good music and good people”. We couldn’t agree more!

  • Electric Diner, is great for a date night. Enjoy a movie at Electric cinema and then a meal at the diner, a perfect combination. At the Electric they also offer electric scream cinema sessions which are great for little ones and mum to enjoy together and  a kids club, don’t miss out!

 

 

Imperial’s Festival of Science

The 2017 Imperial Festival will be held on 6-7 May 2017 and will make an amazing family day out in Kensington.

Join researchers, students, support staff and alumni for a weekend of science at the Imperial Festival in South Kensington. The Festival – first held in 2012 – welcomed over 15,000 visitors last year and 2017 promises to be the biggest and best yet.

Where is it?

The Festival takes place at Imperial’s South Kensington Campus which is situated in London’s museum quarter. It is easy to reach by public transport, several bus routes stop nearby and is only a short walk from South Kensington underground station.

Food and Drinks

Visitors to the Festival will be able to feed their body as well as their mind, with food stalls and the College barbeque rustles up something for all tastes, from paella to pasta, and soup to sundaes.

Program and activities

There will be a variety of hands on workshops, exhibitions, performances, tours and talks. Here are our favourite things happening at the Festival.

  • First love: how do early parent-infant interactions shape our future?
  • Tackling antibiotic resistance in Superbugs
  • The Popomatic, have fun at exploding exploding balloons with high power lasers (suitable for over 10 years old).
  • Open Food
  • The science of fire safety
  • Explore Zone
  • Zumba Class
  • Molecular machines

A list of events and activities can be found here .

 

Considering a Party Plan Direct Sales Business

Today’s contributing article is by Joanne Dewberry who is a 30 something coffee lover living in rural Dorset with her long suffering partner and three children Charlie (2007), Megan (2008) and Olive (2011). Joanne is owner, designer and creator at Charlie Moo’s specialising in handmade fabric party bags. She also writes a small business blog, is a Sage Business Expert and author of Crafting a Successful Small Business. In 2010 Joanne was named Dorset Business Mother of the Year and has numerous accolades and awards to her name. In her spare time she likes to eat and watch crime dramas sometimes at the same time!

Ever considered starting your own business but not entirely sure where to start? Or maybe you just can’t find employment which provides the flexibility you need as a parent. Then Party Plan / Direct Sales could be a good fit for you. Not only are you buying into an already working business model but it thrives on being a flexible opportunity making it popular with parents. Party Plan or Direct Sales businesses are nothing new, I remember my mum having a Tupperware party when I was a child, but they do offer a plethora of opportunities selling a variety of products to suit everyone’s interests.

What is Party Plan/Direct Sales :

Party Planners are Independent Consultants who are self-employed traders. They operate their own small business promoting products for their chosen company. Party plan is a method of marketing products through social events, parties, using the event to display and demonstrate the product or products to those gathered. Orders are then taken before the gathering ends and a commission is earned from your sales figures.  With the rise of social media parties can be conducted online. Together with clever marketing and utilising seasonal promotions social media can play as big a part if not bigger in your business than parties. This increases sales and therefore commission : 5 Ways to Increase Your Party Plan Sales 

Pros :

  • Low cost start up option : Most companies offer a range of start up packages to suit your budget.
  • No need for stock : Unless you want to do events, school fetes, country fairs then you aren’t actually required to hold any stock other than your start up package.
  • Flexiblity :  You are your own boss allowing you to build your business around your family, enabling you to work as and when you can.
  • Grow your business : Most companies allow and encourage you to recruit others and build a team. Commission will be earned on your team sales increasing your income. There is usually a hierarchy in the trader system, the more sales and more team members you have the higher a trader you will be.
  • Training and Support : Most companies will want you to succeed and therefore offer training, support and specific events. Any up-line will also act as a mentor, as it’s in their best interest for you to succeed also.
  • Direct Selling Association : Is the company a member of the DSA? This association ensures members adhere to a code of practice that is fair and ethical.
  • Variety : There is a huge variety in party plan companies books, skincare, cooking, crafts, candles and even shoes. Choose a company with products that you genuinely like and believe in. These products will be YOUR business to be successful. We buy from people, we like, be engaging and enthusiastic about what you’re talking about.
  • Monthly Targets : (This can also be a cons of the business depends on how you view it) You might have to meet a certain criteria, ie holding a certain number of parties within your start-up period, or making £X amount of sales per month. These targets may also be what helps you to grow and develop your business. Always ensure before you sign up you know exactly what is expected of you.

Cons : 

  • It’s not quite yours : Some companies have strict guidelines / terms and conditions. You don’t always have full control over your own PR and marketing especially with a business endorsed by a celebrity.
  • Extras : Things like a website, catalogues, extra stock may need to be paid for from your earnings. You also may not have access to a personal website meaning you risk the possibility of your generated leads going through the main site and missing out on commission.
  • Saturated Market : Market research reps in your area. If the market is saturated with the same business you will find it hard to sell and stand out.
  • Customer Base : Before you start you need to think about how you will sell once you have exhausted friends and family.
  • It could shut down anytime : I’ve seen many a party plan business fold. Virgin Vie was an enormous direct sales make-up brand founded in 1997, it ceased trading in 2011. This is why it will be vital to have a way to

Next Steps :

Research. Visit Recruitment Fairs and events where you can meet party planners/direct sellers and ask them questions pick up information packs. Look online for opportunities : www.workformums.co.uk

If you have lots of information and are still interested, don’t rush in ask a rep to accompany them to a party see how it works in reality. Or host a party yourself therefore you can get the opinion of friends and family on the products.  Baby steps. Remember you can always invest more into the business if it goes well.

You also need to consider how easy it will be to sell the products once you have ‘partied’ out your friends and family. Take time to list local places if you have a child orientated product find out about pre-schools children’s centres and toddler groups. Make-up and jewelry look at wedding fairs and ladies evenings. Can you do some training to run alongside your business make it stand out. ie. If you sell cosmetics learn do a basic make-up training course. Body creams learn a basic hand massage have a USP (unique selling point).

Good Luck in your new venture.

 

Photo Credit | Stampin’ Up with Lexy Browning

Kensington Mums Nominated at Top Mummy Blogger 2017

LONDON’S TOP MUMMY BLOGGERS 2017

 

We have been nominated at London’s top Mummy Blogger by Motherhood London, and we are so happy!

Thank you to all those who nominated us. It means a lot. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. It gives us immense passion and positive energy to continue doing what we are doing.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Kensington Mums is all about supporting your motherhood journey so that you do not feel alone. You are definitely not alone and we hear you loud and clear. Let us all embrace our motherhood journey as its definitely a blessing for us all.

Top 10 reasons to carry your baby/toddler

When you become a Mother, your hands become much needed that sometimes you wish you had a couple to help you out throughout the day. I personally used to carry my baby in a wrap for days out as I also had a toddler in tow and that really helped me in the early days. I was also breastfeeding and carrying my baby in a wrap was really helpful for me and also worked with my family.

Carrying your child in a wrap, sling or carrier – is an easy way of maintaining close contact with your baby but still getting on with your everyday tasks.

Whether those everyday tasks are having a cup of tea, putting out the washing, or simply going out for a walk, it doesn’t matter – what matters is that you are hands free and feeling happier as a consequence.

The choice of wraps and slings is so big now that without a bit of knowledge and support, choosing the right option can appear daunting. The experienced consultants at The Wrap show will have lots of unbiased advice about the wide choice of products to try before buying.

We share with you top 10 reasons to carry your baby/toddler and also let you know about The Wrap Show taking place on 6th May 2017 at The Royal Horticultural Halls, London.

Top 10 reasons to carry your baby/toddler

1. Convenience: Freedom! When we carry a baby in a sling, we can walk around freely and not have to worry about negotiating steps, crowds or narrow aisles with a pushchair. A sling can block out excess stimuli when breastfeeding a distractible baby, and it allows for discreet nursing in public places. A sling can also double as a changing pad, blanket, or cushion when away from home.

2. Promoting physical development: When a baby rides in a sling attached to their mother, father or carer, they are in tune with the rhythm of their breathing, the sound of their heartbeat, and the movements – walking, bending, and reaching. This stimulation helps babies to regulate their own physical responses and exercises their vestibular system, which controls balance. The sling is in essence a “transitional womb” for the new baby, who has not yet learned to control their bodily functions and movements. Research has shown that premature babies who are touched and held gain weight faster and are healthier than babies who are not1. Mechanical swings and other holding devices do not provide these same benefits.

3. Babies worn in slings are happier: Studies have shown that the more babies are held, the less they cry and fuss2. In indigenous cultures where baby-wearing is the norm, babies often cry for only a few minutes a day – in contrast to Western babies, who often cry for hours each day. Crying is exhausting for both the baby and their parents. Babies who do not need to spend their energy on crying are calmly observing and actively learning about their environment. Baby-wearing is especially useful for colicky babies, who are far happier being

worn, but most babies and children will also benefit greatly from the warmth and security of being held close.

4. Healthy: It can be challenging for new mothers, fathers and carers to find time to exercise, but if they carry their babies around with them for most of the day or go for a brisk walk they will enjoy the dual benefits of walking and “weightlifting”. A long walk in the sling is also an excellent way to help a tired but over-stimulated child fall asleep.

5. Security: Slings are usually associated with infants, but they can be very useful for toddlers as well; most slings accommodate children up to 35 or 40 pounds and beyond. The world can be a scary place for toddlers, who feel more confident when they can retreat to the security of the sling when they need to do so. Toddlers often become over-stimulated, and a ride in the sling helps to soothe and comfort them before (or after!) a “meltdown” occurs. It can be very helpful in places like the zoo, aquarium, or museum, where a small child in a stroller would miss many of the exhibits.

6. Communication: The more confidence we have in our parenting, the more we can relax and enjoy our children. A large part of feeling confident as a parent is the ability to read our baby’s cues successfully. When we hold our baby close in a sling, we become finely attuned to their gestures and facial expressions. Many babywearing parents report that they have never learned to distinguish their baby’s cries – because their babies are able to communicate effectively without crying! Every time a baby is able to let us know that they are hungry, bored or wet without having to cry, their trust in us is increased, their learning is enhanced, and our own confidence is reinforced. This cycle of positive interaction enhances the mutual attachment between parents, carers, and children, and makes life more enjoyable for everyone.

7. Slings are a bonding tool for fathers, grandparents, and other caregivers: Slings are a useful tool for every adult in a baby’s life. For fathers, grandparents, and carers wearing their babies in slings the baby is becoming used to their voice, heartbeat, movements and facial expressions, while they are forging a strong attachment of their own. Fathers don’t have the automatic head-start on bonding that comes with gestation, but that doesn’t mean they can’t make up for this once their baby is born. The same goes for babysitters, grandparents, and all other caregivers. Cuddling up close in the sling is a wonderful way to get to know the baby in your life, and for the baby to get to know you!

8. Safe: Instead of running loose in crowded or dangerous places, a child in a sling is held safe and secure right next to your body. Slings also provide emotional safety when needed, so that children can venture into the world and become independent at their own pace.

9. Woven wraps are economical: Woven wraps cost far less than strollers, front-carriers, or backpacks. Prices start at around £40.

10. Baby-wearing is fun and stylish: Who doesn’t love to cuddle a precious little baby? And when your baby is older, having them in the sling makes conversations easier and allows you to observe their reactions. Your child will feel more a part of your life when she is in her sling, and you will find yourself becoming more and more enchanted with this special little person. Woven wraps are gorgeous, custom textiles that can be elegantly and beautifully tied. As new parents it can be hard to feel glamorous but wearing these stunning wraps can make you look and feel great!

What to look for in a woven wrap:

  1. Does it fit your height and build? Most brands come in different sizes; choose one that is right for you (consider your shoulder width, bust, and length of torso). A brand or size that is perfect for a friend may not be the best one for you.
  2. How are you wearing your child? With over 75 different ways to tie a woven wrap, an adult has a lot of choice on where to place the child’s weight on her body, whether that is on front, on hip, or on back.
  3. How do you find the perfect one? Woven wraps come in many different blends and colourways. Often, the advice for a first woven wrap is one that is easy to care for (all cotton for example) and is in a colourway that is pleasing for your eye. You can buy just one or some find having woven wraps in different lengths and blends can be useful tools as well.
  4. Why a woven wrap over other baby carrier choices? If you are looking for one carrier that will suit from newborn to toddlerhood, the woven wrap is the ideal choice as it can accommodate not only the child’s changing needs, but also the adult’s. With the variety of choice in colour, pattern, and blend, a wearing adult can choose one that fits with their own personality. For eco-conscious families, there is no plastic, often wraps are woven with sustainable fibres, and it is easy to reuse a woven wrap into other textiles after wearing is done. Finally, as it is tied specifically to the adult and baby, there is no adjusting between different adults in the household and getting the perfect fit is easy to do each time.

The Wrap Show sees over 18 workshops and 25 baby carrying experts all under one roof, sharing the best advice about carrying babies and children in wraps and slings. What’s more, there will be over 40 of the best baby textile brands and manufacturers available for prospective parents, mums, dads and carers to sample and purchase from.  

Breastfeeding in London

#FreeTheFeed promotes a non-judgmental approach to feeding

Article from Adweek

If you were walking around the Shoreditch area of London, you may have seen a giant inflatable boob with a very prominent nipple sitting on top of a building.

Part of the  Mother Projects initiative is to help women who might feel embarrassed or judged while feeding their babies in public. 

The project is “a celebration of every woman’s right to decide how and where they feed their children without feeling guilty or embarrassed about their parenting choices,” according to the agency’s post.

We love what Motherlondon had to say about this.

It’s hard to believe that in 2017 UK mothers still feel watched and judged when feeding in public, by bottle or breast.
This was our Mother’s Day project. A celebration of every woman’s right to decide how and where they feed their children without feeling guilty or embarrassed about their parenting choices.